It’s July 5, and the sweet smell of sulphur slowly dissipates from the air while my dog continues debating whether to come out from under the table after experiencing his first Independence Day. And speaking of July 5, that means we’re only 56 days away from kick-off against North Dakota State University! So join us as we look back at the most points K-State scored in a game last year – 56 against the University of Kansas – and ask whether the team can turn in a repeat performance.
K-State broke the 50 point barrier five times in 2012 (51 v. Missouri State, 52 v. Miami, 55 v. West Virginia, 55 v. Texas Tech, and 56 v. KU). Each of these games was a blow out, not a shootout, as the closest score was the 55-24 win against Texas Tech. In fact, the only game in this list that seemed to be in question into the second quarter was against the lowly Jayhawks.
Although K-State had a bye week leading up to the game, that hangover from beating Oklahoma in Norman didn’t seem to be broken yet as KU scored the first touchdown of the game, owned a 14-7 lead after a James Sims touchdown in the second quarter, and seemed unstoppable as the team spread the Wildcat defense from sideline to sideline and exploited an unknown speed out of Lawrence. The teams entered the locker room with K-State holding what appeared to be a tenuous 21-14 lead.
Fortunately, someone lit a fire under the team’s ass during halftime as KU’s only points in the third quarter came from a safety, while the Wildcats recorded four touchdowns to break the game open 49-16 before subbing in the rest of the depth chart and coasting to an easy victory while outscoring KU 35-2 in the second half. Can we expect Bill Snyder to follow up the performance with another 56-16 victory?
While another Governor’s Cup trophy should be expected this year, I’d look for this game to be closer than it has been historically. First off, KU is going to put a better product on the field this year. I’ll grant that’s not saying a whole lot – any sort of success looks like improvement when you’re as bad as the Jayhawks have been the past few seasons (four wins total against FBS teams in three years is the current measure of futility). But the personnel should be better. Charlie Weis
doubletripled down on JUCO players this offseason, and brings an infusion of juniors will playing experience that exceeds even most Bill Snyder recruiting classes.
Additionally, BYU transfer Jake Heaps is eligible for KU at quarterback, senior running back James Sims will be one of the best in the league, and coach Charlie Weis has had a full offseason to implement his schemes. This is a team built to win. Seriously – with games against South Dakota, Rice, and Louisiana Tech, KU is fully capable of earning a couple wins before Big 12 play starts this year!
Sarcasm aside, this will be a tougher squad K-State faces. It may score a solid 20 this year. However, I give the Wildcats 1:3 odds they break the 60-point mark this year. This is K-State’s final game of the season in 2013. I don’t know what the conference record will be, but Bill Snyder will definitely be jostling for some sort of bowl positioning and this is the final opportunity to show off his team. Because a wide margin of victory is important and the only two teams Snyder refuses to show mercy to are Nebraska and KU, look for the scoreboard to continue counting into the fourth quarter.
The Jake Waters versus Daniel Sams battle will likely rage into the season if history is any indicator, but one of the two will be the starting quarterback by November, and it will be the player that puts the team in the best position to win. A defense full of newly minted starters will be hardened veterans by the end of the year, and I expect at least three forced turnovers to put the offense in position to score more points. Plus KU will be coming off a game at Iowa State. The Cyclones probably give Weis the best chance to earn a conference victory this year, and he’ll pull out all the stops to win this game before the final showdown with the Wildcats.
I expect K-State to be good this year, but matching last year’s success will be difficult. KU should be better (they actually have a pretty good QB/WR tandem). The Sunflower Showdown travels to Lawrence in 2013. The stars seem to align for maybe a 25 point showing. I’m not concerned, because I’m looking forward to the team hanging 60 on the Jayhawks. Snyder has scored 59 points against KU twice (2010 and 2011), won by 64-0 in 2002, and will return home the victor by a margin of 62-25 in 2013.